Dark, haunting, and sexy. Los Angeles is full of wannabe pop stars, but Emma Jaye is here to subvert them all / rise above the noise. The 23-year-old newcomer is committed to adding an underground edge to the mainstream, making music that sounds different and cool, provocative and new – and that’s exactly what she’s got in store this year, introducing herself through a set of alluring pop songs that will knock you down and pick you back up again.
Music has always been Jaye’s calling; “It’s what I’m here to do,” she says. Born and raised in New York, she began singing from a young age and found inspiration in everything from the Broadway musical Rent, to Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande, and beyond. “I felt invisible as a kid and I never fit in,” she reflects. “Music was then and is still now my life.”
An actress as well as a singer and songwriter, Jaye appeared in movies and on television, playing roles in “Boardwalk Empire", "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”, “Spring Breakers”, and "Barely Lethal,” among others. While you may still see her onscreen from time to time, her heart is fully invested in her music: “I love acting, but it’s not ‘the’ thing,” she says. “I know for a fact that singing is my destiny,”
For Jaye, music is more than performance: It’s a vessel for community and shared experience. “I see everyone as a potential family member, so I’m always trying to connect,” she explains. “As a kid, music is the only thing I remember loving, and it didn’t make me feel alone. I want to spread love as much as possible with my music: I want to spread love to people, and be the person that I needed, when I was a kid, for others who need that now.”
That love arrives in the form of songs like “Dumb,” Jaye’s first single of 2020,” and “Overtime,” its follow-up. “Not only are the lyrics good, not only are the beats good, but also it should FEEL good,” she assets. “These tracks passed all those tests.”
A slick, in-your-face pop song that slaps with a glowing confidence, “Dumb” is a tongue-in-cheek first look at Jaye’s developing artistry that highlights not only her expressive vocal prowess, but also her commitment to using her voice for good: “I wanted to start the year off with something catchy, fun and a little silly; to have a little more fun and freedom in my music,” she says.
“I’ve never really released a song like this,” Jaye says of “Dumb.” “The subject is totally out of left field for me; when you hear it and you see me, it throws you for a loop. It doesn’t match anyone’s expectations, which I thought was really cool about it – it takes people out of their comfort zones.”
On the surface, “Dumb” is an unapologetic meme-ready bop – but deeper down, it carries an important message. “It’s a song that I made with everyone in mind,” Jaye explains. “We live in a very strange culture, where people, especially women, are told that they should feel apologetic for feeling totally confident and beautiful. That needs to change, so I wrote a song to try and counteract it. It’s all about feeling confident and beautiful in your own skin. I know it can be hard to feel that way all the time, but I’m hoping that this song can help.”
Jaye’s hypnotic second single “Overtime” adds new depth to her repertoire as she dives into anxiety and stress – the things that make her tick. “It's sort of capturing the anguish of running circles in your mind, and the anxiety and head-spinning that brings… How you feel like the world's moving really quickly.”
“Overtime” is kind of the story of my life. If I came with a warning, my warning label would say, ‘Caution: Very sensitive! Proceed with care,’” Jaye admits, jokingly adding, “and maybe, ‘Feed me tacos occasionally!’”
Such is the duality of Emma Jaye’s music: She’s talking about real issues and serious subjects, but she has a way of going about them in a fun, relaxed, yet consistently engaging manner. “Overtime” and “Dumb” immerse listeners with cool electronic production and seductive melodies, opening up our minds as Jaye infiltrates our hearts.
2020 finds Jaye embarking on a bold new adventure, and she’s taking her listeners along for the ride. “I finally feel like I’ve found who I am as an artist, my sound, and what I want to say,” she shares. “I’m trying to spread as much love as possible to the world right now.”
Combine that mission with her slew of exciting, edgy songs, and the sky’s the limit for Emma Jaye.